how is it that I’ve never purchased leeks before? or made potato leek soup? I’ve made loaded baked potato soup. I knew I loved potato soups. But there is NO comparison. This recipe is seems surprisingly simple. But I promise…..there is NO catch. It is easy!!
And if you like love potato soups like I do, well then you must try this soup. It is just that amazing!
I knew they were from the onion family. And while I am not a huge onion fan, I know I like them sweet. So I stick with the vidalia onions (sweet onions). They are delicous! And over the years, I’ve discovered I like them on A LOT of my dishes…and in them.
So it was only a matter of time before I would get to making a classic like potato leek soup. And last weekend when I finally braved the produce section to purchase leeks that I’ve been eyeing for some time, I knew the time was coming soon.
Forget that they then sat in my produce drawer all week!! I am a homeschool mom, mom of 3, part-time job mom, mother-in-law coming to visit for 3 wks mom, holidays coming mom….well you get the picture. But really the main reason they sat for so long is they were waiting for a night free to make them and the perfect recipe.
I found several online that all looked the same. Not one really winning me over completely. I think I was scared that it wouldn’t turn out as tasty as I’d hoped, and then it would be my fault for not finding the best recipe out there. Plus they just all looked too simple…not enough ingredients.
So I turned to a trusted companion. When all else fails…..
This book is the best. I mean it is a culinary must-have that I received from my Aunt Barri & Uncle Jim as a wedding gift. Years and years ago. Back before we had the internet as we now know it, food blogs and when Emeril was the rage. Thanks guys…I still use this gift, and over time it has become more and more important to me!
I looked up leeks and read about them. Actually, my 10 yr old daughter wanted to help me, so she read it to me. As I made the recipe, I really wanted to keep adding to it. But it needs nothing. It really does stand alone in flavor…no additions necessary. But of course you know I have trouble following a recipe, so I added extra potatoes and more broth…I wanted to make sure we had more than enough…with leftovers!
So without further ado…
adapted from The Joy of Cooking:
Potato Leek Soup
3 T butter
3 leeks, washed well & chopped*
6-7 medium to large potatoes**
(all potatoes peeled and diced or sliced)
6 cups filtered water
2 T chicken base (or stock or bullion)
1 tsp pepper
1 cup half and half
In a large soup pot, melt butter. Saute chopped leeks in butter till soft, but not brown (about 20 min). Add potatoes, water, chicken base, and bring to a boil. Turn down to 5-6 on stove top so that it continues to boil, but not overly so. Cook until potatoes are tender (20 min). Add salt and pepper. Puree with immersion blender right in the pot, or mash with a potato masher. Or like me, transfer in portions to the food processor, puree and add back to the pot. After all soup has been pureed, add in 1 cup of half and half (original recipe had heavy cream, but this was all I had on hand). I added 1/2 cup at a time, stirred well and then added the rest.
Interestingly enough….before cream…potato leek soup. After cream and eating it chilled….it is transformed into a classic french soup…..Vichyssoise. I found this tidbit, and it is elaborated upon, in The Joy of Cooking. Neat!
*Washing leeks – I’ve heard these are dirty and sandy. So I had prepared ahead of time by watching a segment on leeks with Alton Brown. I had then read up online as well. So I knew the easiest method. Cut off green stems and end of each leek. Quarter them length-wise and lenth-wise again until I have 4 long narrow sections. Then chop the length of each section in small tidbits. I know pictures would be helpful, but I frequently get into the act of cooking and forget to take pictures. I’ve seen some good ones on other blogs. As you do this with each leek, place the chopped leeks into a bowl of water. When all leeks have been reunited in the water, swirl and swish until they are clean. Drain the water and add to the soup pot.
**Potatoes – I had an array of organic potatoes from my grandfather. Thanks Grandpa!!
We all LOVED this soup!!!! Even my picky eater. My girls wanted seconds and thirds…including the toddler and my husband. It will become a staple around here.
The toddler and 6 yr old like it garnished with shredded mexican cheese on top. The 10 yr old, my husband and I liked it better without. It was so flavorful!!
So….if you are still wary of the leek, don’t be! It was very easy. It’s a hearty, warm you to your toes kinda soup. And if you make it, I guarantee you’ll impress all your friends. Especially with this french version! If you need it vegetarian just use a vegetable broth or stock. All I can say is YUM!! I hope to get a photo up here soon.